Labor Day is much more than a bookend to summer. As we approach this annual holiday, it’s also a messaging opportunity for companies, associations and unions to highlight how they’re investing in the future of the American workforce.
Telling this story is particularly important right now. As of June, there were a record 10.1 million open jobs in the United States. During that same month, nearly 4 million Americans quit their job. Showcasing your organization’s commitment to developing worker skills can help recruit and retain the employees you need.
It also shows a commitment to solving a national challenge. Pre-pandemic, one survey showed that nearly 75% of hiring managers reported a lack of skilled employees available in the workforce. The COVID-19 public health crisis certainly hasn’t made it any easier to upskill workers that employers are looking for.
Here are five ways your business, association or union can use Labor Day to highlight how you’re helping workers gain the necessary skills for well-paying jobs and meaningful careers.
1. Invite media outlets to observe worker training programs in action. If your organization sponsors programs that teach workers the skills they need for on-the-job success, invite local media to see these programs in action. Identify your most compelling worker voices and prepare them to tell their story, validating your efforts.
2. Announce new workforce training initiatives. The period surrounding Labor Day provides an opportunity to announce academic partnerships, apprenticeships and in-house training programs. Reporters will be looking for ways to show how organizations are observing Labor Day (traditionally a slow news cycle). By providing them with well-timed news, you’ll have a better chance of receiving favorable coverage.
3. Use social media channels to promote engaging content. Whether you’re creating new digital content or repurposing existing assets, have a social media strategy to highlight your workforce training story in the days leading up to Labor Day. Snackable video content highlighting worker success stories can be particularly powerful to share. There’s no doubt there will be a national conversation on social media about the American workforce in connection with Labor Day. Might as well join it.
4. Emphasize the social value of your workforce development programs. The messaging about your workforce training efforts should emphasize the value of these initiatives to society at large – not how they benefit your own organization. Your narrative should highlight the significance of these programs to workers and make clear that skilled jobs are a pathway to supporting a family and strengthening your community.
5. Make sure your elected officials see your efforts. Through targeted digital ads that promote your skills training content, you can show your elected officials—state, federal and local—how your organization is making a meaningful contribution to society. These efforts will help burnish your reputation, earn community goodwill and improve your standing in future public policy debates.
Instead of thinking of Labor Day as just a summer day off, seize the opportunity to tell a positive story about how you’re working to upskill America’s workforce. There’s no better time to inform media outlets, relevant stakeholders and job seekers about how you’re helping workers learn skills for a lifelong career.
Jeff Grappone is a senior vice president at ROKK Solutions, a bipartisan public affairs firm in Washington, DC. He previously served as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor. Grappone has worked as a spokesman for three U.S. Senators, most recently leading messaging and communications for the Senate Republican Conference